Belton: School honors slain teacher with tree planting

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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound..."

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

To the tune of her favorite song, the Miller Heights Elementary School choir Friday honored a teacher who students say celebrated them for being themselves.

"She was really kind to kids- not just me," says 5th grader Arya.
"I was inspired by her."

Fourth-grader Ilee says she appreciates the ceremony being held for the teacher.

"She's in a better place now, but it also makes me feel kind of sad because she won't be here with us," she adds.

Shelly Fidler was a second generation P.E. teacher.

Just before Christmas, she and her mother, Sherry Gray were killed by Shelly's estranged husband.

"She loved children. She loved seeing them excel; she loved seeing them blossom," says Paula Golden, a relative and special guest of the ceremony.

Now in warmer weather, the school has planted a tree in her honor where flowers will blossom in Shelly's favorite color, purple.

"It just means a lot that they'll remember her, and they valued her for being a teacher here," adds Shelly's cousin Laura Golden-Luedeke.

Shelly's son Cord Fidler was also shot in the attack, but after months in the hospital, the 4-year-old was recently released.

"He was interacting and talking," says Golden who visited him Monday. "He's got a ways to go with mobility, but he's doing wonderful."

Cord is also receiving a plant of his own- an ivy that was donated by Heart of Texas Landscaping which also provided the purple crate myrtle tree which the company planted Thursday.

The elementary school will continue to offer counseling for students in need.

"We have been leaning on each other for this," says Principal Jennifer Conner.

"Some days are easier than others, but we know that the best thing to do is to honor Shelly and just remember how fantastic she was, and what a great human she was."

Parents, teachers, and students are told to focus on those happy memories as they blow bubbles skyward to end the ceremony.

And in this time of new beginnings, they hope it will help them heal from an ending that came too soon.